Apologies, but I real am pressed so I will answer a bit briefly..
In the old Soviet Union – at the time of the revolution, there was a rather small and weak coordinator class. So the political elite from the Bolsheviks was running both the economy and the state. That is what has been called Stalinism, rather like fascism being a political elite running the state and economy, with owners still receiving profits.
It caused people to look at that elite and call it a bureaucratic – meaning, I think, essentially, political product.
The discussion you point to refuses to even entertain that in the economy there can be a structural basis for a class, the coordinator class, which can even be the ruling class. Once you rule that out – not having any concepts with which to even think such thoughts – you are left with explaining the problem in that social system as just a political feature. And, if you also believe economics dominates politics, then you come up with his notion that you report – the problem is temporary – though one wonders why, for those who thinks society is built upon economic relations and forces, there is no effort to find economic factors even in part responsible for the Soviet outcome.
I think what you relay is all way off the mark. First, a dictatorship, the political problem, doesn’t have to be so temporary, itself. That is just a kind of economics will have its way formulation. There is an element of truth to it in this case, however, because the collapse of the system was likely largely due to all kinds of elites feeling they would be better off with a transformation toward capitalism…
Second, there can be an economically based class – the coordinator class, dominating an economy, the thing Mandel seemingly can’t even contemplate.
And finally, even if the coordinator class is relatively week, in some case, and the political elite is quite strong and impedes the living standards of that class, the possible outcomes are a more democratic coordinatorist result, or reversion to capitalism, or moving on toward a participatory and classless result, but that it was reversion that occurred undercuts sen the notion that it is okay to pass through this arrangement. In China, indeed, the highly authoritarian state persists, plus economic reversion.
I agree that certain combinations are unstable – certain – and indeed, there is a sense in which pretty much everything is… but that just doesn’t say much.
But mainly there is a whole additional dimension, far more relevant in the west, just completely left out. That is, the difference between the coordinator class and the working class is such that some modes of organizing and organization elevate the former, some the latter – and those that elevate the former, unlike in the old Soviet case, or China, etc. etc., are unlikely to get enough allegiance in the west to accomplish much of anything, due to working class skepticism or outright hostility.